Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon April 2013!

I'm SUPER excited to be participating again, because the Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon this is one of my favourite read-a-thons to join!

I'll mostly be picking from this stack of books to read from. I don't expect to finish them all, and I'm already partway through two of them.

I've started The King of Torts, but I'm struggling with it. I borrowed it from a friend who insisted that I MUST read John Grisham, and I need to finish it at some point. Maybe that day can be today!

I'm also about halfway through Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, but I'm finding it slow and picked up a new book last night. But I'd like to finish it.

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
Bright and sunny Ontario, Canada! It is seriously gorgeous today.

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen! I love, love, LOVE her books and I can't wait to read her new upcoming release. Plus I need a contemporary fix every now and then.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
I think I'm most excited about lunch actually haha. But I have some really delicious spiced almonds I'm looking forward to snacking on.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
Some of you already know this about me, but for those of you that don't, I just finished my first year of law school last week. And I haven't started work yet so now it's just blissful, lazy freedom for a little while! So this read-a-thon had perfect timing :)

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
I actually really want to force myself to take a couple of breaks and plan them out so I don't end up feeling bogged down and slow with my reading. I'll have lunch with my grandfather for a bit, and I want to go for a run later in this gorgeous weather (and I figure I can have an audiobook playing then). That should be enough to help me focus on my reading!

So I'm off to start The Moon and More at 9:15 EST! I'll be back here in a bit to update :)


So I'm updated FAR later than I normally do in a read-a-thon - but today has been busy! I took a longer lunch break than anticipated, as I had lunch for about an hour and then proceeded to nap.. for about two more hours! It's been 13 hours since I started reading, although 3 of those were a break and I've only finished book 1 (The Moon and More - which is over 400 pages) and I'm starting on Dr. Frankenstein's Daughters now. At least I'm well-rested!


Review: Pretty Girl-13

Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley
Release Date ~ March 19, 2013
Katherine Tegan Books ~ HarperCollins
ISBN13: 9780062127372
Hardcover purchased

Goodreads Synopsis:

Reminiscent of the Elizabeth Smart case, Pretty Girl-13 is a disturbing and powerful psychological mystery about a girl who must piece together the story of her kidnapping and captivity.
Angie Chapman was thirteen years old when she ventured into the woods alone on a Girl Scouts camping trip. Now she's returned home…only to find that it's three years later and she's sixteen-or at least that's what everyone tells her.
What happened to the past three years of her life?
Angie doesn't know.
But there are people who do — people who could tell Angie every detail of her forgotten time, if only they weren't locked inside her mind. With a tremendous amount of courage, Angie embarks on a journey to discover the fragments of her personality, otherwise known as her "alters." As she unearths more and more about her past, she discovers a terrifying secret and must decide: When you remember things you wish you could forget, do you destroy the parts of yourself that are responsible?
Liz Coley's alarming and fascinating psychological mystery is a disturbing - and ultimately empowering page-turner about accepting our whole selves, and the healing power of courage, hope, and love.

I've been interested in crime stories since I was a kid (too much Law & Order!) and I've been on a Criminal Minds kick recently so it was unsurprising when I picked up Pretty Girl-13 after I finished writing my last exam and couldn't put it down until I was finished.

As hard as these types of stories can be to read, I love to read them because I find they really challenge me both as a reader and as a person. It forces you to empathize (or at least sympathize) with a character, as you experience the same struggles they do in the book. But I had a couple issues with Pretty Girl-13 by the time I finished it.

  1. An inside look at life post-abduction:

    What happens to Angie is horrific, but I appreciated learning about it from her perspective rather than anyone else's. I tend to read about these horrific events objectively, but I think it's equally important to consider what happens after a girl who's been missing for 3 years comes back home... from her perspective. Because while it's happy on one hand, it's also extraordinarily difficult on the other. She comes back into her life, but everything has changed so much it's nearly unrecognizable.
  2. The story of a girl with exceptional strength:

    Pretty Girl-13 is truly a testament to the strength possessed by those who undergo such horrific circumstances. It's incredible to see the way Angie did her best to protect herself, and the lengths she'll go to protect others as well.
  3. Mysteries & plot twists:

    The story in this book is different because Angie doesn't remember the past 3 years of her life - any of the time she spent abducted and held captive. So the difficulty for her is to try and put together exactly what happened to her and if she even wants to remember. There are plenty of surprises and secrets to be uncovered throughout it all which makes for a thrilling read. 
But while Pretty Girl-13 started off so well, I didn't feel like it maximized the potential it had. If anything, it seemed to work against the overall message of the story. What happens to Angie is horrific and positively terrible. But by the end, it felt like she was just having every possible unspeakable thing thrown at her to make it as shocking as possible. Many of the twists didn't seem to serve the overall purpose of the story, but just for shock value. I know that stories like this aren't entirely imagined and they really do happen in real life. But some of these weren't tied in to the story well enough and really felt gratuitous. 

And when I finished, I had to think over many aspects of the book. And I realized how many plot holes there were - there are some obvious secrets that should have been uncovered earlier on in the story, because others were in a perfect position to discover it and failed to, even when it would have been obvious to them. (I don't want to spoil anything, so I'm forcing myself to be vague.) There were times when I didn't find Angie's responses to be plausible either, because of how easily she is able to move on after recalling various events that happened in her life. 

So overall, while I liked the book and its message, it felt lacking in retrospect when I had really hoped for more and it seemed like I could expect that much of Pretty Girl-13. 


Blog Tour: The 5th Wave

The 5th Wave (The Fifth Wave #1) by Rick Yancey
Release Date ~ May 7, 2013
Putnam Juvenile ~ Penguin
ISBN13: 9780399162411
ARC received from Penguin Canada

Goodreads Synopsis:

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

The 5th Wave has received plenty of hype and advertising, and my biggest concern when I began reading it was that it was undeserved. And while this first book in a new series wasn't quite what I anticipated it to be, I was enjoyed it so much and I truly believe that all this hype is well-deserved.

The 5th Wave reads like a great introductory book to science fiction and apocalyptic tales, because it's set in a world so very similar to ours just with an alien invasion taking place. But surprisingly, I didn't feel like that was the entire focus of the story which made it an even greater novel.

  1. A fresh take on aliens and the end of the world:

    I typically enjoy reading stories in an apocalyptic setting, and I'm always intrigued by aliens because they always freak me out a little bit. I loved that Rick's aliens aren't your standard martian fare. They're eerie and disturbing, but also seem very plausible. It really struck me how real this story felt, which lends to its horrifying nature. And I appreciate that he used aliens to bring about the end of the world in The 5th Wave, because I love zombies and natural disasters but it's nice to read something different too.
  2. A heartbreaking story of survival:

    Cassie is kinda like a more cynical, sarcastic Katniss. It's a fair comparison. I loved her sense of humour, which stood out even at the worst of times, and you could really tell how much heart and inner strength she has from her story. But her life is filled with so much tragedy and such difficult challenges, I can't even imagine being in her place. It really helped me connect with the book though, and I think reflected some of the more thoughtful aspects of the book.
  3. Something for every reader:

    You want action? There's PLENTY of that. Crazy fight scenes. Tense excitement through the entire. darn. book. Teensy bit of romance? Just enough to appeal to those who love it, and distract readers from all the depressing deaths and dismal future. Super BIG secrets and plot twists? I kept trying to guess and I couldn't keep up! There are plenty of shockers, but they fit so well with the story. Plus there are a number of different characters featured, all different from each other and you're bound to find one you relate to or just prefer reading about.
  4. Strong character relationships:

    I've noticed recently that one of my favourite things to read about in books are sibling relationships. I seem to connect really well with them, and I appreciated that Cassie's relationship with her brother was one of the driving plot lines in The 5th Wave. And to me, The 5th Wave is really about our relationships with other people and community more than anything else and that's why I found the book to be so striking. It's a struggle to connect with others, because of the setting, and it becomes increasingly obvious how terribly lonely this is for the characters. And how it just might very well be their downfall. 
I had a harder time with Evan as a character though, and I struggled with how conflicted my feelings were towards him. I have to admit I was always completely intrigued by him, although I didn't find him to be terribly surprising and I really hope we see more development for him in the next book. He was the kind of character I really wanted to like, and at times I did but there were others when I was skeptical... He's just a seriously complicated guy. And honestly, the book wasn't as scary as I had anticipated. It's dark and very disturbing, but it didn't thrill me the way I expected. That may not be such a bad thing, but I just didn't expect such an introspective type of read when I picked it up. 

But this is still exactly the kind of book I've been saying I want to see in the YA genre for a while now, and the release of this book is just so timely for where my tastes currently are in literature. I love creepy and exciting, and I love that Rick Yancey is such a talented author to pen this book.

Also, the book trailers for these books? Totally awesome. There are THREE so far. The first one (above) is my favourite!


Is Justice Worth It?

A while ago, I mentioned that this year I'm including a new feature on the blog. I talked about human trafficking, and I talked about the great work The Exodus Road is doing to fight it as much as they can. And importantly, how I'm going to be blogging for them to help spread awareness.

I love this video they shared, where they ask the question if doing something (ANYTHING) is worth it?

I get it. Sometimes it all feels like too much. But I firmly believe, anything is worth it. It must be. We just can't afford to look away.

Take two minutes and check out the video. I'd love to hear your thoughts, because it isn't easy.

Is Justice Worth It? feat. Micah Bournes from World Relief on Vimeo.

Friends, this is why I believe in this. Sex trafficking occurs all over the world - there is so much information and opportunities out there available for you. Please, please start to look into it. Whether it's across the world or your very own country - we are all people. We belong to each other. And so we look out for one another.

If you're interested in learning more about what I'm involved out, stop by The Exodus Road. They have tons of information and answers to your questions!

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